During the late sixties/early seventies and still under Franco's fascist regime, there was a big musical revolution in Spain: inspired by britsh musicians - Hendrix. Cream, Doors, Beatles & Stones, Pink Floyd and the like - and american west coast hippie music, longhaired groups with strange names like Maquina!, Agua de Regaliz, Cerebrum & Smash emerged from big cities like Madrid, Barcelona & Sevilla, playing wild music which was labelled as "progressive" & "underground" (or "andergraun") by the critics & music journalists... but in reality, this kind of spanish now music had often more n common with garage, psych, folk, blues & proto hard rock then with prog sounds...but suddenly "progresivo" was tho big word around.
This groundbreaking scene, centered around Barcelona's first indie labels Dimension & Diabolo, has been well documented in the last times but...what about the lesser known bands who recorded in small cities or on private / tiny labels? Along with these obscure groups, this compilation is dedicated to the bands who recorded on major labels but slipped through the cracks, people who released one single and then fell into oblivion.
One of the most important cites during the so called "andergraun" movement along with Barcelona was Seville, the "spanish California". Next to Sevilla is Cordoba, which is where the band EXPLOSION, a young wild bunch of Hendrix fanatics, were from. A truly pioneering underground band from Andalucia, they started in 1971 and were the first spanish band who played a rock mass (for the local San Pablo Church). Jose Rafa Garcia played guitar, Fernando "Randy" Lopez was the bassist, Paco Rosca played keyboards and Rafa Zorrilla "Pelucas" was the drummer.
They only released and incredibly rare and now sought after self produced single, "Marrakech / La luz del fin del mundo". for the tiny Musimar label out of Malaga (another andalusian city) which, according to their crazy manager, sold 15000 copies! !
When Jose Rafa goes to the obligatory militar service, they change their name to Marrakech end in the late 70s, they emerge as the famous Mezquita, playing symphonic-flamenco rock. Sadly, their drummer Rafa Zorrilla "Pelucas", died from drugs overdose some years ago.
For many years, the MADERA DE CIPRES name has been only a rumour whispered in smoke filled rooms by a few hardcore spanish collectors. Must people doubted about their existence, as nobody had ever seen a copy of their killer 45. It was first discovered by rabid collector & rare records digger Doctor Julio and it seems that his copy is the only known in existance. He says he's pretty sure that the 45 never reached the record shops and only a handful of copies were distributed for promo purpose. Nothing is known about the band, they recorded for the budget Artyphon label from Catalunya, known for its rumba and flamenco recordings. Maybe they were a rumba group who ingested some strange substances??
GALAXIA were another andalusian band, this time from the beautiful Sevilla city, home also of one of the most important spanish underground bands, the legendary Smash. José Luis and Manolo Garrido started playing with Los Sonadores, famous for their wild psychedelic shows around town. They later formed the more "progressive" named Galaxia and released a couple of singles for Columbia, both prime early examples of flamenco & rock music fussion. "La Noticia", a wild proto freakkbeat-flamenco track, is taken from their first one. After Galaxie, they changed ther name to Flamenco and released many 45s and a album.
The enigmatic XETXU was in fact a guy named Jose Maria Hermida, a 23 yoars old art student from Galicia who was livinq in Barcelona at the time. He auditioned for Top Records - the "progressive" sub-label of spanish Columbia Records - and the "Xohana"45 was the result. Housed in a weird surrealistic picture sleeve and sung in Gallego - a language from north of Spain -, it's one of the most obscure spanish underground 45s. Part Ono is a folky ballad but on the flip you can find this fuzzed out monstruosity.
SKORPIS were one of the best but lesser known progressive bands from Madrid. They released a couple of stunning 45s in the early 70s but sadly, they didn't achieve the success they deserved, probably because they signed for the wrong record label, G.M.A Discos from Madrid, owned by a bizarre cuban guy from Miami who didn't know what to do with the band Heavily influenced by the Beatles, Cream. Jethro Tull and funk-rock bands like Mandrill, Skorpis played in a lot of clubs around Madrid and even appeared in a famous spanish TV show. They featured one of the most powerful spanish vocalist of the era, Javier Huidobro. who had previously played in tho soul-beat group Matchbox.
Javier wrote the lyrics and music from most of the Skorps tracks. Pedro Lozano, a young Clapton fanatic, was their kller load guitarist. Another member was multi-instrumentalist Carlos Cárcamo, who played violin & flute. Their first great 45 was in a more acid-folk vein and "No bay tiempo para perder", a haunting mid-tempo number written by Javier Huidobro after a failed romance, is taken from their second one. It features a memorable fuzz guitar solo by Pedro Lozano.
After the Skorpis break up, Carlos Cárcamo formed the famous symphonic rock band Granada, who also included Javier Huidobro as vocalist. Javier continued playing in El Combo Belga and Los Amantes de Teruel in the eighties.
IBIZA SOUND were a trio loaded by portuguese percussionist Luis Sangaro, featuring Chema Pellico on bass and an englsh hippie guy named Robin on guitar, famous for his experimental playing using a violin bow. They were true hippies enjoying the Ibiza island relaxed lifestyle, so, their music was very free-form & improvised. Inspired by the "Ad-Lib" balearic movement, they used to live in a famous communal house where they rehearsed, partied and jammed with many foreign hippie musicians.
They signed for the Ariola label and went to Barcelona to record one amazing & weird, nearly krautrock sounding single: "Ad Lib" / "Ad Lib Parte 2" produced by Miguel Casas, the guy who also produced the two legendary Cerebrum 45s. It was their attempt to sound like their heroes Soft Machine & Miles Davis...but they really sound like Can jamming with the Velvet Underground!
When they returned to Ibiza, one day their house burned down destroying al their musical equipment, clothes & personal posessions...it was the end for Ibiza Sound.
Chema Pellico returned to Madrid and formed Cerebrum and later Blue Bar.Today, he's living again in Ibiza and is a reputed iazz musician. Luis Sangoro reiurned to Portugal and Robin's whereabouts are stil a mistery.
MODIFICACION came from Valencia and their early line-up included vocalist Juan Bau, who later found fame and fortune as a melodic singer. After their week first single for Emi-Regal, they signed for the small La Corrida label - which was owned by felix Arribas & Juan Jimenez from famous spanish band Los Pekenikes - and released a couple of 45s. "Across the time", a powerful Steppenwolf influenced Hammond hard-rock track, is taken from their second 45.
From a parallel universe where it still was 1968 instead of 1975, come THE MATCHES. They were supossedly an studio band from Catalunya and the strangely titled, fuzzed out - dig that tuzz organ! -"Eo-Santana" is taken from their only known recording, a privately pressed EP on the Ana label. Some of the tracks were composed by the mysterious songwriting tandem of Pituso & Pandale, who also appear on recordings from other studo groups like Tinglado 13.
UNIDADES was another exploito studio band fron Catalunya with rumoured Matches connection. They released many 45s, most of them commercial latin pop. "Much Wore", is their best offering, a cool Farfisa organ dominated garage-psych number.
Another mysterious band was SHOCK. It seems they were a group from Argentina who established and recorded in Barcelona. "No so puede ser Superman", a demented fuzz-punker, is taken from their only 45 for the Emi-Regal label.
ALL & NOTHING weren't a real band at all but an studio group created by J. L. Alvarez, a well known spanish pop journalist who played a seminal role in spanish pop & rock history since the early sixties. During the spanish underground muse boom in the early 70s. he launched the Pussy label and managed a recording studio in Madrid, which was frequented by various groups like Canarios, Nuevos Tiempos. Nucleos, Alcatraz and many others. The "Underground Vibrations n°2"/Snobismo" single was created by Alvarez using recordings from different jamming sessions by these bands at his studio, credted to the fake group All & Nothing, a weird experiment which received an unexpected success and led to the recording of a second All & Nothing 45, this time with a real band in a more flamenco-rock vein. (Text by El Varón Rebuscante with help from Félix Mundo & Doctor Julio)